The Margheritan

The Margheritan.
The Margheritan.

The best pizza I ever had was over a decade ago when I went to Rome, Italy. There was a small alley that we walked through countless times and never noticed this hole-in-the-wall pizzeria… until one day.

Before we left for Italy, someone recommended a book about restaurants worth visiting in Italy. We brought the book with us. And while in Rome, we opened that book and picked one of the restaurants. It was this pizzeria.

One night we wandered over. If we hadn’t known the address, we would have walked right by it. Well, we actually did every day, and even that night. Finally we figured out where it was and walked in the front door. The restaurant had simple and unadorned tables and chairs. There was almost no dΓ©cor on the walls, and a couple of older Italian men sitting in the corner.

After going through the menu, I decided on a pizza they called a Margherita. Now this pizza was made with insanely fresh ingredients: fresh ripe crushed tomatoes with their special blend of herbs on a fresh delicious pizza dough. After it was taken out of the oven, it was covered in large fresh basil leaves. But no cheese. Can I just say that it was the best pizza I ever had. I literally inhaled the whole pizza it was that amazing.

Now in North America, Margherita pizzas have cheese, so for my Margheritan I channeled that hole-in-wall pizzeria in Rome and created my next installment in my pizza adventures.

Fresh and delicious..  :)
Fresh and delicious.. πŸ™‚

To start, I had to make new pizza dough. This time I made a different style of dough which combined bread flour and semolina flour. I then left it to rise in the fridge for between 12-24 hours.

After the twenty four hours had passed, I removed the dough and divided it into balls: one for this pizza, and another ball to be set aside in the freezer until the next pizza adventure.

I then made my Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce which included a finely chopped garlic glove, chopped fresh basil leaves, ripe tomatoes chopped in small chunks, tomato paste, sea salt, sugar, and freshly ground black pepper. I let it sit for an hour in the fridge to accentuate the flavours.

When it was time to make the pizza, I stretched out the dough to my desired size, and then brushed on my Herbed Grill Oil. I then sprinkled on a bit of Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella and Fontina cheeses. I dropped spoonfuls of the Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce onto the pizza. I then placed sliced and torn pieces of fresh mozzarella across the pizza filling in the holes between the sauce.

In the oven the pizza went until everything was cooked to perfection… I then garnished it with fresh basil leaves. Hmmm… Yummy! πŸ™‚

Yummy pizza! :D
Yummy pizza! πŸ˜€

The Emilian

The Emilian: Prosciutto with Caramelized Cantaloupe Chutney.
The Emilian: Prosciutto with Caramelized Cantaloupe Chutney.

The next installment of my Pizza Adventures was The Emilian – Prosciutto with Caramelized Cantaloupe Chutney! Yummy!!

This pizza was amazing because it was a combination of salty and sweet. Subtle salty flavours from the prosciutto, and sweet from the cantaloupe chutney. And the best part? No two bites were the same! πŸ™‚

To start I had to take out the last of my premade (frozen) balls of pizza dough. I let it defrost for several hours and rise.

Now to begin the toppings for the pizza. First up, making the Cantaloupe Chutney. I put sugar and water in a small skillet over medium heat. I stirred constantly until it was a light golden brown. Then I added cantaloupe chopped into little cubes, half a fresh jalapeno minced, red wine vinegar, and stirred. I reduced the heat to medium low, and let it cook until most of the liquid was gone. I stirred it occasionally so it wouldn’t burn on the bottom. Once the chutney had thickened, I removed it from the heat and stirred in extra virgin olive oil.

I then brushed my defrosted and stretched pizza dough base with my Herbed Grill Oil. I sprinkled on grated Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Fontina cheeses. I dropped spoonfuls of the Cantaloupe Chutney on top, then added the prosciutto in bunched up slices, filling up the spots to make a colourful pattern. I then sprinkled crumbled Gorgonzola all over the pizza.

In the oven it went to cook. When the pizza was ready, I sprinkled chopped fresh sage leaves. If you desire, you can also sprinkle roasted walnuts.

Yum yum yum!!
πŸ˜€

Prosciutto and Cantaloupe Chutney Pizza
Prosciutto and Cantaloupe Chutney Pizza

Chocolate Espresso Swirl Cheesecake

Chocolate Espresso Swirl Cheesecake. Yummy!
Chocolate Espresso Swirl Cheesecake. Yummy!

With Easter this weekend.. I decided to bake something for my husband to take to work for his team… A Chocolate Espresso Swirl Cheesecake!

I decorated it with dark chocolate espresso beans and dark chocolate swirls of my own creation.. Don’t you think the chocolate covered espresso beans looks like mini Easter eggs?! πŸ˜‰

A close up shot of my chocolate swirl creations.. ;)
A close up shot of my chocolate swirl creations.. πŸ˜‰
Yummy top view of the cheesecake..
Yummy top view of the cheesecake..

Now.. I didn’t just make a delicious cake for only his team at work. I also made mini versions for Easter for my husband and me.

Mini Chocolate Espresso Swirl Cheesecakes with architectural chocolate decorations.. ;)
Mini Chocolate Espresso Swirl Cheesecakes with architectural chocolate decorations.. πŸ˜‰
Two mini cheesecakes just for the two of us!
Two mini cheesecakes just for the two of us!
Yummy!
Yummy!

Chilled Avocado Soup

Yummy Fresh Chilled Avocado Soup! :)
Yummy Fresh Chilled Avocado Soup! πŸ™‚

The Soup Adventures continue with a Chilled Avocado Soup.

I first put lemon juice into a food processor (or blender). Then I added coarsely chopped avocados, snipped fresh chives, chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, cold chicken stock, light cream, and Worcestershire sauce. I processed all the ingredients into a smooth puree.

I then transferred everything to a bowl and seasoned with salt and pepper. I covered the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chilled in the refrigerator (for at least 30 mins).

Once ready, I stirred it, then ladled it chilled soup bowls, then garnished with a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of snipped fresh chives.

The Habaneran

The Habaneran - Hot Peppers with Avocado, Cilantro, and lime.
The Habaneran – Hot Peppers with Avocado, Cilantro, and lime.

Last night I created my newest pizza sensation: The Habaneran – Hot Peppers with Avocado, Cilantro, and Lime! Yum!

First, I of course took out one of my frozen pizza dough balls and let it defrost and rise. Once the dough was ready to be created into my pizza base… I stretched it out until I reached the desired size. Then the layers of flavour and toppings began….

I brushed my dough with my homemade Herbed Grill Oil, which consists of high quality extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic clove, dried oregano, dried thyme, and dried basil.

I then dusted my pizza with some shredded Parmesan, and sprinkled shredded mozzarella. I then dropped spoonfuls of my Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce, consisting of minced garlic cloves, finely chopped fresh basil leaves, chopped ripe tomatoes, a bit of tomato paste, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, a tiny bit of sugar. Finally, I sprinkled on a finely chopped habanero pepper. Then in the oven it went.. πŸ˜‰

Once the pizza was cooked, I removed it from the oven and garnished it with thinly sliced avocado, and chopped fresh cilantro. I also squeezed lime juice over the whole pizza. So Delicious!!!! πŸ˜€

Lemon, Coconut, and Blueberry Layer Cake

Lemon, Coconut, and Blueberry layer cake.
Lemon, Coconut, and Blueberry layer cake.

A little while ago we were invited to a kid’s birthday party, and Brent asked the hostess if they wanted me to bring a cake. She of course said yes, so I decided to make an adult cake for everyone else.

A close up of the white chocolate flower, with the blueberry centre, and candied lemon peels.
A close up of the white chocolate flower, with the blueberry centre, and candied lemon peels.

I wanted to bring something different, so I made a Lemon, Coconut, and Blueberry layer cake with Lemon Curd, fresh whole Blueberries, layers of White Chocolate and Coconut, and Coconut Sponge Cake. It was decorated with a flower made from White Chocolate petals and Blueberries and Candied Lemon Zest for the flower centre. Both delicious, and beautiful! πŸ™‚

Lemon, Coconut, and Blueberry layer cake side view. Check out the yummy layers. :)
Lemon, Coconut, and Blueberry layer cake side view. Check out the yummy layers. πŸ™‚